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 When does a design become your own?
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Renocat
Permanent Resident

1327 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2006 :  4:14:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit Renocat's Homepage Send Renocat a Private Message
I have never designed a pattern of my own. I am currently working on a top and have made so many changes I wondered it I could say I designed it? I have no intention of selling the pattern, or even writing up the changes to share with anyone.

The top started out as a simple cap sleeved T worked in the round. These are the changes I made:

1. Knitted longer than specified because I like a longer top
2. Added short row bust because I needed more room for "the girls"
3. Lowered the neck because I cannot stand anything near my neck, even crew necks bother me. This became sort of a ballet neck
4. Picked up stitches and added to the sleeves because I did not like the cap sleeves.

And from the very beginning I had to re write the pattern because I needed a larger size than the pattern went up to so I had to figure out cast on and increases/decreases.

As I said, I have no intention of profitting from this pattern or even making it available to anyone except myself. I am just curious at what point something becomes "mine" in terms of design. When does a simple straight forward formula for a common item become your own design?

[img]http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/knit.gif[/img]
Kim
I have a blog! Kim Knits

knittingkeri
Chatty Knitter

197 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2006 :  6:14:37 PM  Show Profile Send knittingkeri a Private Message
I'd say when you modify it to suit your tastes and fit that you need, like you did here. You really aren't knitting the same garment at all with all the techinical modifications you made, IMo.

It's been six months, but I'm back in the knitting game!
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Calamintha
Permanent Resident

USA
2886 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2006 :  6:49:45 PM  Show Profile Send Calamintha a Private Message
This is one of those gray areas. According to an article titled, "Copyright and Knitting, A Matter of Principle" by Lance D. Reich (an attorney) that appeared in the Winter 2005/2006 edition of Vogue Knitting, "There simply is no set 'amount' of deviation from a work that will fall outside the scope of the original copyright." He further goes on to state that decisions are usually made on qualitative rather than quantitative grounds.

That's one of the reasons why discussions about copyright are so problematical because in many cases the law is written in such a vague way there is no definitive answer outside of a courtroom.
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Gelliott
Seriously Hooked

USA
911 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2006 :  8:25:47 PM  Show Profile Send Gelliott a Private Message
Since it's the written pattern and not the finished garment that may be protected by copyright, you need to write the pattern in your own words, draw your own charts, etc., in addition to any design changes you make.

Gelliott
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Renocat
Permanent Resident

1327 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2006 :  06:58:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit Renocat's Homepage Send Renocat a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Gelliott

Since it's the written pattern and not the finished garment that may be protected by copyright, you need to write the pattern in your own words, draw your own charts, etc., in addition to any design changes you make.

Gelliott



That makes sense...I knew that too. As far as qualitative vs quantitative, I certainly feel the quality of the finished garmet is much higher due to the improved fit

[img]http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/knit.gif[/img]
Kim
I have a blog! Kim Knits

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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2366 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2006 :  12:12:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message
I'll give a slightly different answer. Most of the changes you have made are in the fit of the top. If you have not changed any of the design details, such as edge treatment, stitch patterning, details of neckline or collar, style of any shaping or unique features of the body, I would not consider that it is changed enough to be your own design. In other words, if it has the same "look" as the original, then it is just a modified version of the original.

Improved fit is very nice for you, but the original fit may have been designed to work for a broad range of bodies, as many patterns are designed. If it's higher quality for you because of the way it now fits, that's great.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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KarenB
Seriously Hooked

750 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2006 :  12:38:34 PM  Show Profile Send KarenB a Private Message
I agree with Sheila. Simply -- or even extensively -- modifying someone else's pattern does not in any way make the design your own.

Karen
My knitting gallery
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gulf knitter
Seriously Hooked

USA
737 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2006 :  2:56:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit gulf knitter's Homepage Send gulf knitter a Private Message
What if one used Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system, along with original color or pattern ideas to design a sweater? Would the resulting garment be one's own design? Again, not talking about selling patterns or sweaters, just walking around braggin' rights. Sarah.
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Renocat
Permanent Resident

1327 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2006 :  4:49:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Renocat's Homepage Send Renocat a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by gulf knitter

just walking around braggin' rights. Sarah.



Yeah, that is what I am looking for...bragging rights But I agree, it is essentially the same top, same stitch pattern, same neck, I just altered it to fit me.

I really don't want to walk around and say I designed this which would essentially be stealing someone else's hard work that they already put into pattern

[img]http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/knit.gif[/img]
Kim
I have a blog! Kim Knits

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McKnit
New Pal

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2006 :  08:45:28 AM  Show Profile Send McKnit a Private Message
In this case, quantitative differences would refer to numbers of stitches/rows. If you just cast on more stitches to make something bigger, or add more rows to make it longer, you are not making the design your own. HOwever, when you change the qualities of the garment, such as the neckline and the shape of the garment, that is a qualitative difference. If you were to wear your garment and run into someone who had knitted the pattern as specified, would that person recognize the garment as the same one she had knitted?

If you gave 100 experienced knitters an assignment to design a simple tank, chances are a number of them would look almost identical to others. It would appear that differences were primarily quantitive...length, width at shoulders, etc. Yet, clearly each would be an original design.

Every pattern is a combination of design elements. The more simple the pattern, the greater the chance that another combination of elements will result in a similar or even identical pattern. That does not make it "not original."

When you change a certain number of things about a pattern so that the resulting garment is more to your liking, who is to say the changes don't result in something original? This is the gray area...at some point in the modification process, a design does become your own.
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Beenispired
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2006 :  1:00:32 PM  Show Profile Send Beenispired a Private Message
HI, I'm new to KR. I would say that unless there is a change to the overall look, or style, its not new. On the other hand its a great way to develop a sense of the patterns are constructed. I do this on almost all the patterns I use. Eventually I made my own. You may find that too, thats the fun part.
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phlame
Permanent Resident

USA
1562 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2006 :  2:49:27 PM  Show Profile Send phlame a Private Message
I, too, would agree with Sheila. If you are just modifying a pattern, I don't think that makes it your own. But, if you start from scratch and design a pattern, I would think that would make it yours. Then too, their are only so many designs you can make before you start repeating them...however many that might be.

Shirley Ryan, living in Dana Point, CA

...and dance like no one is watching!
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Tangled Jane
Seriously Hooked

Canada
750 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2006 :  05:57:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tangled Jane's Homepage Send Tangled Jane a Private Message
Here's a question in the same vein: recently I found out that someone was knitting my patterns and selling the finished garments. When a mutual acquaintence pointed out that profiting from someone else's design is technically a copywrite infringement, the knitter countered by stating that her use of different yarns modified the design. My patterns encourage knitters to explore their own creativity and most finished garments made from designs like the Watergarden Shrug, for instance, turn out differently from someone else's based on yarn choices but isn't that the same for everyone?

I didn't pursue the matter but I'm curious to hear other opinions.

Jane http://www.janethornley.com/journal_knitters.php
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renee_knits
Seriously Hooked

702 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2006 :  10:16:16 AM  Show Profile Send renee_knits a Private Message
Of course I understand why photocopying patterns and giving them away (or, worse, selling them!) injures the designer. And I'm not questioning the legality of selling a garment made from someone else's design, so don't get me wrong. But I'm interested to know what benefit the designer is losing if someone knits the pattern and sells it. Also, does it make any difference (legally or otherwise) if the customer who wants the garment purchases the pattern and yarn and then pays someone to knit it?

Knitting IS real life!
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Calamintha
Permanent Resident

USA
2886 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2006 :  10:33:00 AM  Show Profile Send Calamintha a Private Message
I think if a separate pattern is purchased for each copy of the item that is sold then that is considered ok. So if someone bought one copy of a pattern and then sold 12 sweaters from it then the designer would be out the royalties on the 11 copies of the pattern. If the sweaters are given away though and no money is exchanged that is different. Anyway, that's what the website below says:

http://www.geocities.com/jbtocker/copyright/copyrfaq4.html

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Momma78239
Permanent Resident

USA
4859 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2006 :  12:16:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
Jane,
Yes, that is copyright infringement. Simply using a different yarn isn't enough to qualify as an independant work. You are entitled to some form of legal relief. However, that won't be easy to get. Although you HAVE copyright when you write a work, you can't sue over it (in the US) unless you REGISTER the copyright, and if you register it after a problem arises, you have to pay much more than if you register it before a problem arises.

Regarding the use of a technique, like Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system to figure out shaping of a design, in designing one's own garments, that DOESN'T count as copyright infringement. If you're starting from your own idea for color, shape, pattern, etc, and only using E.P.S to figure out the shaping, you've not infringed anyone. Now if you take her entire sweater pattern and just put different fair isle elements in and use a different color and yarn, that's a different story.

-WendyM[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v632/Momma78239/smallspindlepic.gif[/IMG]
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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nanetteb
Chatty Knitter

220 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2006 :  02:54:51 AM  Show Profile Send nanetteb a Private Message
Tangled Jane, you raise a good point. A while back I knit up some items for an animal shelter to sell to raise funds. I used commercial patterns and contacted each designer for written permission. I told them all I'd put the source of each pattern on the items for sale.

Everyone I asked gave me permission but several designers asked just how many of the items I planned on making and if I was going to be using a knitting machine. I guess it would make a difference if I was cranking out hundreds of items via a machine but in my case I was just making a few hats and baby sweaters.

When I see a standard copyright on a knitting pattern I would assume that I'd need permission to sell the finished item.

Nanette
http://www.lulu.com/nanetteblanchard
http://knittingincolor.blogspot.com
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